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Transform yourself to transform others

by Joshy Thomas

The world has many good leaders but very few great leaders. What separates a good leader from a great leader is his ability to transform his followers and his willingness to create greatness in his followers. All great leaders have one thing in common: they are able to transform themselves and others.

Today's organisations need transformational leaders who can instill passion and energy into everyone and everything. This is the secret of organizational success.

Who is a transformational leader?

Transformational leadership is that leadership that inspires organizational success by profoundly affecting the followers' beliefs and values. The only changes that can last are the changes that stem from the inner core of a person. Transformational leaders influence this core in every follower and transform him profoundly to make him a better human being.

A transformational leader inspires, cares, and nurtures others. He creates in everyone a sense of commitment, involvement and duty. He alone is not responsible for the goals; every one has to actively contribute to the organizational success. He transforms and changes himself, his followers and everyone in the organisation successfully.

He promotes problem-solving skills and encourages his followers to take risks and challenges which will ultimately contribute to the welfare of the organisation and followers.

He cares about his followers and rejoices in their successes. He makes them aware of the issues in the organisation and the problems associated with these issues if they are not solved. He communicates freely and genuinely. He leads them to lasting solutions.

He creates a vision in the mind of the followers with regard to what the organisation should be. He instills commitment in their minds to achieve this vision and passionately promotes changes required to achieve this vision. He becomes the change that he wants to see in the world.

7 Ds of Transformational Leadership

1. Develop a vision

Develop a vision for your organisation. This will tell you what you want your organisation to be in future. This future should be capable of exciting you and your followers. Become passionate about the vision first and then sell the vision to others. Transform yourself first before you preach to transform others. It's around your vision that people will gather and only it will give them a sense of achievement and satisfaction. So develop a challenging and thrilling vision.

2. Deliberate the vision

Sell your vision to others constantly. Inspire others to buy this vision. Transform their beliefs and value systems to match your own beliefs and values. Take into your bus people who agree with your vision. Constantly encourage and motivate them to remain with you in the bus till you reach your vision. One of the simple ways to motivate them is to challenge them often and give them opportunities to contribute to the achievement of the vision. Give them credit when they succeed and be sympathetic if they fail.

3. Discover the road to walk ahead

A transformational leader first of all knows where he is going and he takes others along with him to reach his destination. Help others to discover the road to achieve your vision. Trust others and seek out for their advice and help as you journey along. They are not mere followers but co-passengers in the journey.

4. Dare to walk behind

The transformational leader forms his followers so well that they know how to lead themselves even when he is not there. He doesn't need to be there at the front always. He is often at the back guiding and moulding them. But at the same time he is visible and will be at the front when a problem arises. He motivates and inspires the followers to belief in this vision when they begin to doubt.

5. Depend on others

The transformational leader shows a strong desire to learn form others. He is open to their influences. He creates excellent relationships with others and pursues the needed transformation together. He empowers the others to fulfill the vision. He has a strong determination to make his vision real. In moments of self- doubt, grief and fatigue, he seeks out the help of others.

6. Develop a culture of collaboration

Transformational leaders develop a culture of collaboration instead of conflicts. They value the contributions of others and always show that they are dependent on them to achieve their vision. He doesn't believe in command, control and punishments but treats every failure as an opportunity for growth. People are free to suggest new ideas and he encourages them to remain flexible and adaptable. He continuously improves them to make every one a leader.

7. Drink to others success

Transformational leaders use every occasion to cheer their followers when they do something good. They celebrate every progress and encourage creativity. They are people oriented and believe that success will finally come. They do everything to bring out the best in their followers.

Transformational leadership encourages original solutions to organizational problems. It brings in better performance, extra effort from employees, makes them more loyal, helps them to create better interpersonal relationships, makes them trust their colleagues and find satisfaction in their work.

He is able to create synergy and win-win situation to give a new level of success to everyone. As he gets transformed the world gets transformed.

From India, Hyderabad
Wow Kiran. Good article and one of my favourate topics.

This is what I can add to what Kiran contributed.

Globalisation brought in winds of change in the business scenario. Realigning strategies and hierarchy has become imperative.

Leadership needs to be inspirational and provided by leaders who are facilitators rather than controllers. Leaders must take into account the most valuable resource any organisation has- its people!

In a new kind of management based on leadership the supervisor becomes a coach. This allows each employee to influence the way things are done, which in turn facilitates learning. Leadership is all about followership.

Employees absorb the core values of their organisation. These values should not be inflexible and obsolete regulations. They are guides to form and re-form collaborative and interfunctional teamwork through which the new organisation’s mission is realised. Leaders should participate, besides encouraging teams and teamwork.

The new system emphasises on organic commitment, depends on the effective development of human resources and involves everyone in decision-making. An empowerment strategy that encourages employee initiative and an atmosphere of high expectations, appreciation, and excitement is necessary- an attitude of wanting everyone to excel.

Visionary leadership

Leadership can be equated to organisational transformation. Whenever the issue of organisational transformation cropped up, the subject has become especially relevant. Leadership is an important issue when implementing any changes.

A transformational leader believes that the aims and aspirations of leaders and followers are the same. The transforming leader considers the follower as a whole person. A sea of change happens to both leaders and followers in the pursuit of goals. A transformation results from raising the level of human conduct and the ethical aspirations of both the leader and the led. The net result is people stop thinking in a conventional fashion. Moreover, in a transformed organisation, leaders have a vision, or an image of the organisation's future. The vision gives direction and helps employees to know where they fit in. This enhances motivation and a feeling of empowerment.

Communication is another important component of leadership. The decisions and actions of leaders must reinforce the need to transform. It is pointless to communicate a vision of an effective organisation if a bureaucracy resistant to change is left intact or if leaders do not demonstrate a commitment to these values by their own behaviour. Leaders who shift positions frequently and express contradictory values undercut the trust and confidence of their followers.

The leader's role has become more complex and critical to success. The new managerial style demands leaders to handle complexity and ambiguity, yet enjoy leading the change process. They must ensure that people within the organisation are motivated, developed and rewarded. Such leadership contributes to teamwork and empowerment, which result in organisational success.

Transformational leader influence people by doing rather then just supervising.



From India, Delhi
Dear Kiran & Archna,

You have discussed some very valuable issues that are becoming so vital for Leadership in the 21 st century.

May I add the following:

The four main Components of the Transformational Leadership Model

Inspirational motivation

Intellectual stimulation

Idealized influence

Individualized consideration

Components of the Transformational Leadership Model

Inspirational motivation

Pattern of behaviors and communication that guide followers by providing them with a sense of meaning and challenge in their work

Use of Inspirational Motivation in Transformational Leadership

Display great enthusiasm and optimism

Get followers involved in and committed to a vision

Inspire others by what they say and do

Components of the Transformational Leadership Model

Intellectual stimulation

Encouragement given to followers to be innovative and creative

Urge followers to question assumptions, explore new methods and ideas, and take new approaches to old situations

Actively seek out new ideas and creative solutions from followers

Don’t criticize followers’ ideas just because they differ from those of the leader

Have a relatively high tolerance for mistakes made by conscientious followers

Focus on the “what’ in problems rather than the “who” to blame

Are willing to abandon systems and practices that are no longer useful

View risk taking as necessary and desirable for long-term development and success

Components of the Transformational Leadership Model

Idealized influence

Behaviors of transformational leaders that followers strive to emulate or mirror

Often consider the needs and interests of their followers before their own

May willingly sacrifice personal gain

Can be trusted

Demonstrate high ethical and moral standards

Can be very direct and challenging to some followers and empathetic and supportive of others

Minimize the use of power for personal gain

Use all power sources to move individuals and teams toward a vision and its goals

Components of the Transformational Leadership Model

Individualized consideration

Special attention paid by a transformational leader to each follower’s needs for achievement and growth

May act as coach, mentor, teacher, facilitator, confidant, and counselor

Embrace and reward individual differences to enhance creativity and innovation

Encourage open dialogue with followers

Empower followers to make decisions

Monitor followers to determine if they need additional support or direction

Hope it will be of additional use



From Sri Lanka, Kolonnawa
Hi Kiran,
Thanks for posting such a good article.
Archna & Prof Laxman'addition is great and we had a fine article on Leadership.
Thank you all the three for such a wonderful article.
Cheers !!!!!

From India, Hyderabad
Dear All(Trio),
Great words indeed.
I've a small doubt. In theory or in Practice these are the qualities/Characteristics the Leaders posses.
As it was discussed the transformational leadership of changing oneself to become the great leader, does it come be learning all these characteristics or understanding its qualities ? I mean, Does a Leader understood these concepts and became a leader ? or the Leader happend to be based on situations he is in ?
Does it mean an Great Leaders can be created by imbibing these concepts discussed here by Professors IIM's and IIT's.
In my perspective every human being is cetainly having leadership qualities which is not cultivated by his Society, Family, Work Environment or Work Culture.
Kindly clarify.

From India
Dear SK,

Thank you for your observations. One of the most comforting statements made by William James was that humans can change their lives by changing their attitudes. If we cannot change but have to live a mould that we bring simply through our genes, then there is little hope for growth and development.

This take us to the interesting issue whther leaders are born or made. There is plenty of evidence to support that leaders are made.

There are several intersting models to take from;

Traits Model

Behavioural Models which covers Ohio State University leadership studies

Contingency models that covers Fiedler's model

Blanchar's Situational model

House-Path goal model

Vroom-Jago model

An important thing I have noticed in my work as a Consultant Psychologist is that Knowledge alone doesn't change anyone. It is very important to learn certain skills and practice them over a period of time to observe any benfits. Same is true for leadership. Tranformation doesn't take place by being aware of it but by incorporating values etc and living them daily so by changing from within you become a transformed person and now qualify to impact others.

Unfortunately the world is full of those who theorize but do not practice what they preach so they cannot actualize.



From Sri Lanka, Kolonnawa
For all those who may wish to further study on Transformational Leadership, I am attaching some power points. Rgds Prof.Lakshman
From Sri Lanka, Kolonnawa

Attached Files
File Type: ppt transformational_leadership_668.ppt (528.5 KB, 277 views)
File Type: ppt transformational_leadership_668.ppt (528.5 KB, 176 views)

Great Prof.Lakshman... The superb is also less for the presentation. Its very good. It would be a good discussion when we start answering those discussion Questions.
From India, Hyderabad
Dear Prof,

Thanks for your reply, Its really encouraging for people like me. Any how I would like to quote your words again becoz it means a lot at least to me.

An important thing I have noticed in my work as a Consultant Psychologist is that Knowledge alone doesn't change anyone. It is very important to learn certain skills and practice them over a period of time to observe any benfits. Same is true for leadership. Tranformation doesn't take place by being aware of it but by incorporating values etc and living them daily so by changing from within you become a transformed person and now qualify to impact others.

The words which are in green are very true in everybody's life. I would like the forum to discuss on few cases and examples so that one would take up those scenarios to cultivate or bring leadership into their real lives.

If each and every citizen show Leadership qualities the Nation would become great.

Thanks. I would like the forum to Keep this topic alive and ensure people nurture the Leadership very much which cannot come in a day.

Thanks to Professor again.



From India
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